10 Great Clarinet Étude Books

by Mitchell Estrin

Date Posted: November 11, 2020

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Most serious clarinet students follow a traditional path of method and étude books as they progress from beginner to intermediate to advanced performance levels. As the student progresses, the Carl Baermann Third Division (scale studies) and the Cyrille Rose 32 Études and 40 Studies are the most frequently assigned materials. These books are timeless and can be utilized for a lifetime.

To continue progressing and to solidify all of the foundational aspects of technique, it is important to practice a variety of study materials to complement the learning of solo repertoire.

Clarinet solo repertoire can be selected from a wide range of chronological and stylistic periods, and there are many excellent étude books from the past two hundred years that will enhance both musical and technical progress.

I have compiled this list of ten of my personal favorites to help students and teachers in choosing appropriate books to help further their technical and music progress.

1. Carl Baermann – Method for Clarinet, Opus 63 - Divisions 4 and 5

Most students study the Baermann Division 3 which is a fantastic and comprehensive book of scale studies. The often overlooked Divisions 4 and 5 are beautiful études and concert pieces in Romantic style, written in a progressively difficult manner to challenge the clarinetist.

2. Ernesto Cavallini – 30 Caprices for Clarinet

Virtuosic caprices in nineteenth century Italian style. Fun, rewarding, and not easy!

3. Norman Heim – The Development of the Altissimo Register for Clarinet

A great progressive book to help students develop greater control and command of the altissimo register.

4. Paul Jeanjean – 18 Études for the Clarinet

Jeanjean wrote many excellent books for the clarinet. I particularly enjoy these beautiful and difficult Impressionistic style études.

5. Reginald Kell – 17 Staccato Studies

I use this book with every student, and these lovely pieces help students to develop a more consistent and faster articulation.

6. Kalmen Opperman – Modern Daily Studies (Books 1-3)

These very challenging books are great for developing a stronger and more consistent technique. Opperman’s Velocity Studies are also excellent for improving technique.

7. Victor Polatschek – Advanced Studies for Clarinet

A wonderful book of challenging studies based on classical repertoire alongside some originals by Polatschek.

8. Robert Stark – Practical Staccato School, Part 3

A great book to practice after completing the aforementioned Kell studies.

9. Alfred Uhl – 48 Studies for Clarinet (Books 1 and 2)

Beautifully written and challenging twentieth century studies that will supplement the practice of more modern solo repertoire.

10. Himie Voxman – Classical Studies for Clarinet (From Bach to Handel)

These wonderfully adapted pieces from the Baroque masters should not be overlooked.

Estrin Circle Bio

About the Author

Mitchell Estrin is Professor of Clarinet at the University of Florida and Music Director and Conductor of the University of Florida Clarinet Ensemble. He is the past President of the International Clarinet Association and author of the biography Stanley Drucker Clarinet Master published by Carl Fischer. Estrin performed as a clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic for over twenty years in hundreds of concerts and on 19 tours. As an international concert artist, he has performed in 37 countries on 4 continents. As a studio musician, Estrin has recorded dozens of motion picture soundtracks for Columbia Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount Pictures, MGM, 20th Century Fox, United Artists, and Warner Brothers on feature films. They include Fargo, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Interview With a Vampire, Home Alone 2, Pocahontas, Doc Hollywood, Regarding Henry, TheUntouchables, and more. His television credits include recordings for ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, HBO, TBS, and ESPN. Learn more about Mitchell Estrin.

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